Ronald Araujo is set to replace the suspended Clement Lenglet while Miralem Pjanic should be handed his first start at Barcelona against Sevilla on Sunday.
The fixtures in La Liga continue to come hard and fast as Barcelona get ready to host Sevilla at Camp Nou on Sunday night. Both teams have started the competition with two wins and ahead of the international break, at least one of the streaks is bound to break.
The Blaugrana have had most of their first-choice starters fit barring Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but have been handed a significant blow, with Clement Lenglet suspended after being sent off against Celta Vigo. Ronald Araujo is expected to come in to replace the Frenchman, partnering Gerard Pique at the heart of the Barcelona defence. Neto will start in goal behind them.
Jordi Alba is uncontested in his position right now, with Junior Firpo out injured and will retain his spot as the left-back. On the right, new signing Sergino Dest will have to wait for his debut, with Sergi Roberto starting ahead of him. The Spaniard put in an excellent shift from right-back against Celta and will hope to extend his form.
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Speaking about Dest’s involvement, Ronald Koeman said, “I don’t know if we can call on him. We’re trying to look at the paperwork. I’ll give the final call up, and I hope he’s there but if not he’ll have to wait. I see him as a starter, but there is competition. Roberto is, doing well in the team. We are winning, and the players who come in have to provide competition.”
In midfield, Barcelona will start with a double pivot as they have so often this season and Frenkie de Jong should start, with Miralem Pjanic replacing Sergio Busquets after the Spaniard completed 90 minutes in midweek. Additionally, Pjanic’s precise long-range passing may help to exploit the poor positioning from Sevilla’s Diego Carlos.
The last member of the midfield will be Philippe Coutinho, who will slot in as the no. 10. The Brazilian put on excellent displays in both the games so far and will have to keep that up, with Carles Alena, Riqui Puig and Pedri ready and available for the same role.
Koeman made sure to give Coutinho his due credit and praised him in his pre-game presser, saying “He’s a really good player. What’s more, he’s a player who learned a lot in England, a great deal at Bayern in terms of work. My job as a coach is to get the best out of each player. And that starts with putting the player in the position they play best.”
Antoine Griezmann was discarded at half-time for Araujo after Lenglet’s red card but will start this game on the right wing, while Ansu Fati takes up the slot on the left. Lionel Messi will be the final piece of the puzzle that is the starting XI and will retain his spot as the furthest man on the pitch.
Barcelona Predicted XI: Neto; Roberto, Araujo, Pique, Alba; Pjanic, de Jong; Griezmann, Coutinho, Fati; Messi